31 July 2006

We Are Crazy Cat People

We couldn't resist buying this sign for Ellie's cave. She loves to sit in there and seethe. I'll be posting some new photos to What Would Grendel Do? soon.

The Race for the Cure San Francisco is 2 months out. Any family members and friends who haven't donated yet, rest assured there's still plenty of time to do so! You can visit my race page at any time. I'll be badgering you with more email reminders over the next few weeks.

Yesterday we went to the Walnut Creek farmers' market for the first time. We found some amazing food. We bought (and ate) the best tamales we've had since we left San Diego last summer. And there was also a vendor selling Brazilian cheese bread. I've been buying the Chebe bread mix and making it myself for several years, but this guy's was so much better! He gives out free samples piping hot from the oven and they melt in your mouth. He sells the dough formed into little frozen balls. I'm going to heat some up tonight to see if they taste as delicious from my own oven as they do from the vendor's.

Not much else going on here. Mike's out of town today through Thursday and Sunday through Sunday. I'm working a lot and puttering around the house. No word on exactly when the rest of our stuf will arrive.

26 July 2006

It's small, but it's great.

One thing I do have is my coffee grinder. Yesterday I bought some fresh-roasted beans and this morning I made the best cup of coffee I've had in weeks.

Settling In

Perhaps despite ourselves or maybe because we are too tired to keep fighting the machine, we are getting settled. It's not perfect right now, but it's a place to live. We have the futon, so we're no longer on the air mattress (although we're going to friend's this weekend and will need to bring it with us). Friends of ours who recently moved in together and have doubles of everything loaned us a tv and a microwave. The rest of our stuff is tentatively arriving between August 8 and August 17. Yeah, that's a wide timeframe. I don't know when they'll be narrowing in on a specific date.

Last night we went to the Red Sox game in Oakland. It was a great game. Very nerve-racking for a few minutes. Oakland came dangerously close to the Sox's lead, then the Sox exploded and pulled away. Final score: 13-5. I met a guy in Mike's office who was there, who is totally Jimmy Fallon's character in
Fever Pitch. Great guy from Massachusetts who is married to the Sox.

I'm tired this morning. I feel like I played the game rather than watched it.

23 July 2006

Alan Robinson of Steuben, Maine, hauled up this two-toned lobster last week while bringing in his catch near the town of Bar Harbor... Rest of article at National Geographic.com. Thanks Mike!

Newsflash! It's still hot here. Yesterday we went to a party in Oakland where it seemed a few degrees cooler. There were trees, so the yard was shady. It was good to be out of the sun. And nice to be out of the house talking to people other than ourselves.
Today we'll continue working on the apartment. We're going to Home Depot to buy a towel rack for the bathroom. (What is it with every apartment we've lived in having only one towel rack? What if more than one person--especially in a 2-bedroom--wants a clean, dry towel?) We're also getting shades for the balcony. The afternoon sun that comes in is brutal.

The cats are settling in better than we are. They were nice and quiet last night for the first time in ages.

22 July 2006

Only our stuff from the D.C. apartment showed up today. Mike got ahold of someone before COB on the East Coast, and they apologized for the micommunication, but our San Diego stuff is still sitting in the storage unit in Maryland. ("Miscommunication"? You mean the email you sent us saying all our stuff will be delivered in one shipment?) They told us cheerfully that hopefully it will only take 2 or 3 weeks for the rest of the delivery to arrive. We are pissed. We still have no tv and no real bed.

21 July 2006

It's Going To Be a Long Day

First, because I typed out a long post and then accidentally deleted it and couldn't recover it. Cripes!!

Just when we thought nothing else could go wrong with this move...Yesterday evening we walked over to our new building to scout out a good parking place for the moving truck today. Our walk was stopped by yellow caution tape. Someone decided it was time to replace the sidewalk in front of our building and the staircase leading up to our apartment is blocked by wet cement! We talked to the leasing office, and as usual, they apologized for the inconvenience but there's nothing they can do about it now. (HEY! It's no secret we've been planning to move into this apartment for the last 3 weeks. There wasn't one other day that wet cement could have been put down?!?! Don't you actually talk to your maintenance team?) We found another parking lot and an alternate staircase, but it's going to mean a long walk for the moving guys from their truck to our apartment. They're going to have their work cut out for them. They're arriving at noon, and the predicted high today is 98 (it will most likely be 100 or warmer). We stocked up on lots of bottled water for them.

In a few minutes we're getting the keys and will see the new apartment for the first time. I wonder what other surprises are in store for us. (I'm assuming there was a mix-up with the moving company and we'll get either our San Diego stuff or our D.C. stuff today, but not both. I'll be surprised if the one thing that goes right is that our stuff is all delivered together.)

20 July 2006

It's the new Jan Brady!

This photo has nothing to do with my post. I just think it's funny.

I got new glasses yesterday! We're moving into a new apartment tomorrow (and getting our old stuff back)! We bought a new bed and it's being delivered on Monday! Yay new stuff! I am so ready to live a relatively normal life for a while.

17 July 2006

General Update

1. It's hot.

2. We saw Pirates of the Carribean yesterday. It was lots of pirate silliness. The plot was a little confusing; we didn't think we'd need to rely on our memories of the first film so much to be able to follow this one. There was a plot to the first one? I think they're better off sticking to the pirate silliness rather than adding too much story.

3. On Friday we'll move into our 2-bedroom apartment and we'll get all our stuff back. It's been 1 full year since we packed out of San Diego.

4. It's hot.

13 July 2006

Check out this photo from the Los Angeles Times. It looks so scary. I can't believe Joshua Tree is on fire like that. Welcome back to California, the land where if the sun doesn't burn you the wildfires might! We've had a couple small fires in the San Francisco area this week, and I keep looking up at the mountain behind us that's covered in yellow, dry grass. I'm keeping a close eye on it.

11 July 2006

Summer Reading II

Last week I finally finished reading Under the Banner of Heaven. Everything I said about it in my previous Summer Reading post still stands. I ordered two more books by Jon Krakauer, Into Thin Air and Into the Wild, which arrived today. (Mike: "Why do all his titles begin with prepositions?" And another aside: Note to self--Stop ordering from Amazon! They waste so much plastic and cardboard on their packaging.)

Last week I also read Kindred, by Octavia E. Butler. The plot was captivating and kept me turning pages. A young black woman in 1976 Los Angeles is transported back in time to save the life of a white plantation owner in the Antebellum South, who turns out to be her ancestor. She keeps having to save his life in order to lead to ultimately save her own. But the writing style was very matter-of-fact and I had really wanted to be swept up by emotion. It's a big deal, being a black woman coming face-to-face with your white slave-owning ancestor, and I wanted to be in tears by the end of it. But I wasn't. I was curious about where the story would go, but I wasn't emotionally invested.

I don't know what I'll pick up next. For months I've been slogging through Simon Winchester's A Crack in the Edge of the World, about the 1906 San Franciso earthquake (like I really need to freak myself out over that). But I'm tempted to pick up one of my new Jon Krakauer books. They're thin, so I can pick them off quickly.

10 July 2006

TCB. I was an idiot when I ordered our phone service and forgot to order voice mail, so I set that up this morning. And the AC did not work this weekend, so I just called with a maintenance request. Apparently other people had the same problem because there's quite a wait for the AC guy to get here. It got up to nearly 100 degrees yesterday! Today's cooler, and I don't even need the AC on. But I'd like it fixed before the next hot spell.

Speaking of yesterday and the heat, we decided to get up early and hike
Mount Diablo. We drove most of the way up, then parked and hiked the last mile, gaining approximately 1,000 feet in that mile. It was hard, and the heat hadn't even reached it's peak for the day yet. My year Back East has left me weak when it comes to hot, dry mountain hiking. Coming down was much easier. Mount Diablo has the distinction of being the place where you can see more of California than from any other peak in California:
Many visitors to Mount Diablo head straight for the summit to enjoy the famous view. Summer days are sometimes hazy, and the best viewing is often on the day after a winter storm. Then, you can look to the west, beyond the Golden Gate Bridge, to the Farallon Islands; southeast to the James Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton at 4,213 feet elevation; south to Mount Loma Prieta in the Santa Cruz Mountains at 3,791 feet elevation, north to Mount Saint Helena in the Coast Range at 4,344 feet elevation, and still farther north to Mount Lassen in the Cascades at 10,466 feet. North and east of Mount Diablo the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers meet to form the twisting waterways of the Delta. To the east beyond Califomia's great central valley, the crest of the Sierra Nevada seems to float in space.

After the hike there was much napping and eating of lunch, then we decided to cool off by heading into the city. We went to Chinatown and had super-tasty Chinese food. It was chilly there! We had been sweltering in WC, waiting for the BART in long pants, but glad to have them and our windbreakers when we got to SF. By the time we finished dinner, the fog was rolling in and as we walked by the TransAmerica Pyramid we could barely see the top of it.

On Saturday we had the first normal, quiet evening in we've had in a long time. We made quesadillas and watched
The World's Fastest Indian. It was a great movie, a little "feel-good," but very well filmed. It looked like it was filmed in the 60s, when it took place. The color palette and some of the special effects were very retro and they added to the fun of the movie.

08 July 2006


One day last week we found time to play hookey from our apartment search and we went to Muir Woods.

We hiked up the Ocean View Trail. You can't see the ocean? It's there. I didn't see it at first either, in real life. If you look closely, just below the clouds there's a bit of blueish white that's a slightly different shade of blueish white than the clouds. There's actually a barge floating on the water, but it's hard to see in this tiny version of the photo. When I was standing there, I didn't realize I was looking at water until I noticed the barge. I really thought it was a joke name for the trail, or maybe there was an ocean view thousands of years ago before the trees grew up. Then I finally saw the water.

Muir Woods is where the redwoods are. In the second picture, I'm standing in the hollow base of a giant old redwood.

I've also uploaded some pictured of the cats on their cross-country jouney at What Would Grendel Do?

07 July 2006

This is important to me

Today I sent out my emails badgering people for Race for the Cure donations. If you didn't get one and you want to donate, please go here: My Race for the Cure Page.

Even if you can't or don't want to donate, be aware of breast cancer and talk to the women you love about it.

You don't have to run in the race or donate money to participate. Volunteers are needed at these events throughout the country. Find out more:

06 July 2006

Good Things

(Not quite Martha Stewart, but good things for us.)

We both went back to work yesterday. While yesterday was exhausting, today feels more comfortable. We are getting our routines figured out. And I have the time and energy to stop and think about and assess everything that's happened in the last few weeks.

As I've told a few friends recently, I never thought I'd be so nonchalant about driving across the country. The first time I did it, in my crappy old VW, was so exciting. It was a big adventure! Last year it was pretty fun, too. We are riding in speedy comfort in Mike's little Subaru sport wagon. We stretched the trip into a week, spending a few days at Zion National Park in Utah, a mini-vacation before a few days on the road. This time it was more of a chore. We took a route that was different from any others we've done, so we saw some new states and some new terrain. We saw the Great Salt Lake and the surrounding salt flats, which was a first for both of us. It helped to break up the monotony of the drive, especially after days and days of Iowa and Nebraska fields. We tried to get excited--We're following the paths of the pioneers!--but when we finally got to the mountains, they weren't quite as breathtaking as mountains we'd seen in the past. We got too tired to be excited.

A note on the salt flats: The recent movie World's Fastest Indian was filmed at the Bonneville Salt Flats, which we drove through. We have the movie now on Netflix and hope to watch it soon. If you watch it, you'll see what we drove through for an afternoon.

We celebrated the Fourth of July by introducing some new residents of California (the other new SF agent and her fiance) to In & Out, at Fisherman's Wharf while we watched fireworks. Good food and good fireworks were enjoyed by all. It was touristy, but fun. Mike's been jonsin' for In & Out since we left California.

I registered for the Race for the Cure San Francisco. Emails soliciting donations to this great cause will be forthcoming and frequent, until I reach my fundraising goal. Tell anyone they can donate here:
My Race for the Cure Page

Back to work now!

05 July 2006


Very early this morning we woke up with a sinking feeling. It was more than a feeling. We really were sinking! Our air mattress has sprung a leak.

We both went back to work today and are too busy and too tired to think about what the next step will be in finding something to sleep on until our regular mattress gets here in 2 weeks.

We know we should be happy and thankful that we are alive and healthy and have very few needs and all that stuff. But for weeks now we've barely made it through 24 hours without something going wrong. When will we just have a normal day?

(The "sinking feeling" joke was Mike's.)

04 July 2006


We are wireless and we have a robot.

After many hours of home diagnostics and phone calls to service centers, 2 trips to Target, and a few dollars on hardware, Mike has our wireless internet up and running. We can be on the desktop and the laptop at the same time (like we are right now this moment) and IM or email each other (which we are NOT doing right now).

And this morning we bought a Roomba! In a few hours a robot will be taking care of all our vacuuming needs! I can't wait to see it in action.

03 July 2006

Check Out My Walnut Creek Weather Sticker

It's a lovely day in Walnut Creek, and we are settling in nicely. We have a bed, a table, and 2 chairs. We have enough stuff to do to keep us entertained for the next 3 weeks until we move into the 2 bedroom-apartment and get all our furniture and other belongings out of storage.

Walnut Creek has a neat little downtown area. We live on the office park side of town, though. It's not terribly exciting, but it should be quiet in the evenings and over the weekend since all the office people won't be around. Unfortunately, it's terribly noisy inside our apartment, thanks to cats scrambling around on hardwood floors all night long. Sigh. Our next apartment is all carpet. We were thinking that would be such a pain, because of all the cat fur to clean up, but now we are so thankful it will be quiet.

Today we haven't decided yet if we'll run even more errands, or take the day off to hike around Mount Diablo. We are very tired and would rather relax. But we have a few more things to take care of before we go back to work on Wednesday and we don't really know if stores will be open tomorrow or not.